PURPOSE: The aim of this case study is to describe clinical staff perceptions of implementing a person-centred model of nursing in an outpatient radiotherapy treatment department, using a Primary Nursing/Collaborative Practice framework. The questions are: 1) what are the nursing and radiotherapy staff perspectives of the changed model of care, 2) what factors impacted on aspects of the evolving model?, and 3) how was interdisciplinary collaboration influenced by the new model?
METHODS: An instrumental case study addressed the multiple perspectives of several radiotherapy health professionals, within a qualitative approach, to assess the new model of nursing care. Interview data were obtained from thirteen clinical staff over a six month period approximately one year after the model was implemented.
RESULTS: The new model supports nurses to work more closely with the individual patient, with some perceived positive patient outcomes. Nurses reported increased satisfaction with their work, more autonomy and responsibility, and improved working relationships with medical staff. They also became more aware of the holistic approach to support positive patient outcomes. However, this study acknowledged that education was required for nurses to provide holistic care, especially in the context of complex interdisciplinary relationships.
CONCLUSIONS: A person-centred nursing approach in radiotherapy represents a radical change to the functional approach, providing some benefits for patients. However, the challenges of providing holistic care in the context of complex interdisciplinary relationships are evident, and this study acknowledges the importance of a team approach to addressing changes in practice in the future.
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